Unmediated Communal Music

Music intrinsically should be communal, uncontrived and in its highest aspiration, transcendental. But somewhere along the line, these very elemental musical characteristics got muddled, even taken for granted because of commercialism and modernity.

It is an unfortunate and at times disappointing state of affairs but there’s a sliver of creative hope beneath the nondescript heap of derivative mainstream music these days. And it’s found in the desert because why the hell not right?

Aptly named ‘Anarchestra’, it is as per its website an orchestra of over two hundred unique musical instruments built (with a few exceptions) by Alex Ferris an American musician, composer, and theorist, to explore alternative timbres, tunings and methods of playing. https://anarchestra.wordpress.com/

Part orchestra and part art installation, these hand-built musical instruments  are tuned to microtonal scales and oftentimes on the same key because it is through this that people are encouraged to play since it’s hard to hit the wrong notes when it’s tuned this way. This is what sets ‘Anarchestra’ apart from modern music because it’s unmediated, meaning, there’s no discernible division between performers and audience. All present are encouraged and even invited to play and experience music.

“I want people to participate. To me, that’s the real meaning of folk music, is folks playing music, together, you know, tribal, village, whatever sense you want to call it, a community, making music together. I want everybody to join in and do it and have fun.  And play and feel enabled and empowered and take some responsibility for how it comes out.”(An excerpt from an in depth documentary “Um . . . yeah, so I did this”, 2013, YouTube).

With the advent of new technologies such as the internet and social media, modern society has seemingly lost touch of what music really is in its basic and truest form. With artists and visionaries like Alex Ferris, the spirit of communal music lives on.

Watch the documentary below and discover for yourself the wonders of unmediated music. Because music is more than just an art form, it is a way of living—our reason for being, the rhythmic meaning of our existence.


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